Kolkata: Cable operators in the city have got temporary respite with the deadline to go digital being extended till Jan 15.
“In a meeting recently, it has been decided that the deadline should be extended. We have got temporary respite till Jan 15,” said Swapan Chowdhury, convener of the Cable Operators Digitalisation Committee of the Association of Cable Operators in the city.
Cable operators in the West Bengal capital are caught between the central government’s mandate to go digital by Dec 27 and the Mamata Banerjee-led state government’s fierce opposition to the move.
Following directions from the information and broadcasting ministry (to city-based multi-system operators or MSOs) to block out analogue cable signals by Dec 27, the state government opposed the decision citing law and order problems.
“Despite the extension we are still sandwiched between the information and broadcasting ministry’s orders and the state government. They are yet to reach a solid conclusion,” said Chowdhury.
Irrespective of the extension, operators feel 100 percent digitisation will not be possible by the new deadline.
“At the moment, only 60 percent of consumers have acquired the set-top box necessary to switch over to the digital platform. By Jan 15, we expect the numbers to be around 80 to 85 percent, but 100 percent conversion cannot be achieved so soon,” said Chowdhury.
According to him, as of now, English and Hindi channels are off the air, while regional Bengali channels have been running as usual.
“Most of the English and Hindi channels have been blocked, but a few popular channels are on. The Bengali channels are still on the air,” Chowdhury said.